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August 22, 2019

Everything you Need to Know about Collagen—the “Anti-Aging Superfood”. {Partner}

This article is created in partnership with Further Food—they’re dedicated to sustainable health, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.

 

Aging is no joyride.

At 37, I can tell you: joints are already little crankier, skin a little less plump, smile-lines a little deeper, and hair a little finer than in my 20s.

It’s not all bad, though. Most 30-something women will agree: we’d never trade the wisdom and confidence of my 30s for that younger-looking skin or thicker, longer hair of our 20s. And grey streaks are actually pretty rocking too, right?

Most of us are learning to embrace getting older—or at least take it less seriously. There are a few things a lot of us on the mindful, healthy lifestyle train know we gotta do to support ourselves as we age: eat real food (mostly plants, locally-sourced if possible), move, meditate. What else?

Self-care is holy. And self-care definitely includes taking the right supplements. It’s not just about how we look either: as women, we are disproportionately affected by things like osteoporosis, dementia, chronic illness, and autoimmune conditions.

If you value your health and want to age gracefully (who doesn’t?) you’ve probably heard about collagen. Maybe you’ve even tried it. If you’re a seasoned supplementer, read on for a few things you may not know. And for those who are new to this anti-aging superfood, here’s the scoop:

Collagen is a bit of a health & beauty buzzword—for good reason.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It makes up 90% of our connective tissue, 90% of our organic bone mass, and 70% of our skin.

Our bodies produce less and less collagen each year, which eventually leads to wrinkles, dull and saggy skin, joint stiffness, and weaker bones. And it starts in our early twenties—way before most of us are even beginning to think about aging:

“I began developing crow’s feet around my eyes at the age of 24, around the same time I noticed my knees getting tweaky during and after treadmill workouts. While I’ve always had darker under eye circles, suddenly those seemed to become more prominent as well, especially after a night of binge-watching Netflix, going out on the town, or eating too much salt or sugar—so like, doing anything fun.” ~ Kerry, Elephant team member

Our ancestors supplemented this with whole animal eating, including the connective tissue proteins that are rich in collagen. These days, either because we’re not eating ‘nose to tail’ or we’re going more plant-based, we simply don’t get enough collagen in our modern Western diet.

Even if we do eat animal protein, we’re still not getting enough to replace what we’re losing since the amino acid make up in collagen protein is very different than the amino acid in meat proteins, and thus work differently inside our bodies.

So, unless we’re taking a good quality collagen peptide supplement like Further Food, we’re missing out on some awesome health benefits:

Get 20% off on all Further Food products with code ELEPHANT >>

The Only Protein Supplement that can Strengthen Skin, Nails & Muscles, as well as Improve Gut, Joint & Bone Health.

“I began taking collagen about 6 months ago after reading about how our bodies produce less of it year over year. Within about 3 weeks, I began noticing that my knees no longer held a grudge against me following a particularly grueling HIIT class, and that my muscle soreness wasn’t as debilitating as it had been.

About a week or two later, I began to wake up with a glow—like a stop-in-your-tracks-in-front-of-a-mirror glow. My skin looked noticeably plumper and firmer too, but I couldn’t get over the way it had begun to radiate. 

My crow’s feet were still there of course, but far less noticeable, and even the dark circles I’d had since my teens had lightened up a shade or two. That detail was the most impressive, as that piece of my biology has always been particularly stubborn.” 

With those kinds of benefits, it’s no wonder collagen is all the rage right now. But whenever something becomes crazy popular, the market is flooded with poor quality, corner-cutting products from those in it to make a quick buck, often at the expense of the environment and maybe even your health.

“While I loved getting the extra dose of protein by mixing collagen powder into my morning coffee, I will be honest: it was nasty. The cheap tubs I bought on Amazon left my coffee with a (somehow) simultaneously gritty and gummy texture, and I shuddered to think about how the product had been obtained.”
~ Kerry 

So how do we know which collagen products to trust?

Any eco-conscious consumer will agree that our dollars are essentially our votes for the things that are important to us—things like quality, transparency, and sustainability. This is the reason many like-minded collagen lovers will only support the most eco brand on the market to date: Further Food.

The World’s Most Eco-Friendly Collagen Supplement is Women-Created (obviously).

Further Food was started by Lillian Zhao when she was seeking a holistic healing approach for her father who was diagnosed with diabetes, her mom with hypothyroid, and her two friends—one who was diagnosed with IBS and another with Crohn’s disease. She drew upon her Chinese heritage and ancient healing practices in Eastern medicine and found collagen and gut health to be foundational to all three of those diseases.

Lillian (center) is joined by Ashley (left) and Allegra (right). Each of them have personal experiences with chronic illness. As chronic-illness-fighting warriors, they proudly donate a portion of their sales to chronic illness and healthy eating programs spearheaded by members of their community.

Their driving mission is to help people heal, eat better, and lead healthier and longer lives and this is reflected in all they do. They believe in the power of real food and clean ingredients and all their products are based on real food, with zero additives, fillers, or preservatives.

“When I found Further Food I was so relieved to discover that, not only is their collagen responsibly-sourced and sustainably-packaged, but its smoothness and fineness added a creamer-like texture to my coffee.”
~ Kerry

Further Food Collagen Peptides are sustainably-sourced from the highest quality hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle from Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Their cattle graze on hundreds of acres of organic grass. In addition, they are hormone and antibiotic-free, which is essential when choosing a supplement.

Their Premium Marine Collagen Peptides are sustainably-sourced from the skin of wild-caught cold-water North Atlantic codfish off the coast of Canada.

All Further Food products are also made with love in the USA and undergo rigorous quality testing by a carefully selected panel of health experts including naturopathic doctors, master herbalists, and registered dietitians.

As a supplement company, it’s almost impossible to find sustainable packaging because supplements need to be in airtight containers. Eco-friendly packaging is also much more expensive, and most companies simply don’t make the commitment to sustainability. However, as a lifelong swimmer, surfer, and ocean-lover, Lilian knew that she needed to push harder for change.

So, Further Food became the first company to offer collagen packaged in 100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) jars—they’re giving new life to old plastic as well as lowering their carbon footprint. In doing so, they’ve reduced their carbon footprint by 78% and they’re using 90% less energy.

But, something to love about these women—who own and run this powerhouse company just between the three of them—they acknowledge that we can always do better.

So they are also working to utilize 100% post-consumer recycled materials on all their products and hope to inspire more companies to follow their lead.

All their collagen powders are non-GMO, gluten free, dairy free, sugar-free, and Paleo and Keto friendly.

Tips for Easy Ways to Add Collagen to your Diet.

Further Food collagen is tasteless, textureless, and blends right into all foods and beverages. Just pour it into your morning beverage, soups, smoothies, or other recipes. You can also bake with it.

Here are a few ideas for healthy and tasty ways to use your Further Food collagen peptides:

Further Food Recipes:

1. Sugar Free Mango Açaí Bowl with Collagen

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INGREDIENTS: 1 packet frozen unsweetened Açaí 1/3 cup of frozen mango 1/4 avocado 1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk (or water) 2 scoops of Further Food Collagen or Premium Marine Collagen Toppings (optional): 1/4 cup of granola Any fresh fruit you love (pictured: mango, raspberries, bananas, blueberries & pomegranate seeds) Blend base ingredients until smooth & serve with your favorite toppings
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Image: Courtesy of Further Food

Editor: Khara-Jade Warren